Friday, July 06, 2007

Beth Ditto, The Gossip and GLBT vs. Queer

I kept reading about the antics of Beth Ditto on various so-called glbt blogs. She's the lead singer of a band called The Gossip, that formed in Arkansas, found initial success in the northwest (like Oregon and Washington) but have apparently really made it big in Britain now. Ditto is a plus-sized gal and not hesitant about showing it off. She's also very vocal about her views and proclaims herself to be a lesbian. However, she is in a relationship with a transgendered f2m. Now this last thing about her being with a transman brings me to another point but before I get sidetracked...

I kept intending to download some stuff by The Gossip to check 'em out and see what they were like. After reading another blurb about Ditto on Queerty last week I finally remembered and downloaded a handful of their tunes. I didn't really know what to expect but my suspicion was that The Gossip were getting by on the shock value of their lead singer more than any semblance of talent. Well, color me corrected. I absolutely loved what I heard. They have a stripped-down sound that somehow simultaneously manages to be really big. There are only three people in the band and Ditto just sings and doesn't play an instrument as far as I know. The Gossip also incorporate several different musical genres into their sound. At their core they are a rock band but they certainly show heavy influences of both punk and funk. Their biggest song, from what I understand, is a tune called Standing In The Way Control. I downloaded it and liked it a lot. However, I also downloaded three or four other tracks and they were all excellent too. One song, which I guess is just an album cut and wasn't a single or anything, is called Fire With Fire. If you held a gun to my head I'd say it was the favorite of the few songs I downloaded but really everything was good. I highly recommend The Gossip. (I'm sure my endorsement will send their sales skyrocketing.)

Now onto my other point. Queerty had another item about Beth Ditto today and one of the comments a reader made is bitching about how she calls herself a lesbian but she's dating a f2m transman. I can see the person's point and Ditto's choice of labels bothers me too. I'm not going to argue whether or not she's a lesbian. If that's how she identifies herself then rock on sista. The thing that aggravates me is the need for all the fucking labels to begin with. It's always bugged me that gay women have the added distinction of being "lesbians" whereas I guess us guys were just "faggots" until recently when it suddenly became politically incorrect to use that word. Then the poor trans-folk are all off to the side sort of by themselves and fragmented from post-op transsexuals to fetish transvestites and everything in-between.

So I say lets drop all the labels which only divide us and unite under the common label of "queer"! We're here, we're queer...uh, we're all sort of in the same boat, don't cha think? I mean, Bush and his cronies hate us all.

This is not an original thought. I know I've heard it expressed elsewhere. I'm pretty sure that I've heard Michael Stipe of REM say pretty much the same thing in an interview and I think he may have been criticized at the time for not declaring himself "gay" but hiding behind the more obscure identification of "queer" instead.

I think this is the way to go though. Black people don't make a distinction between each other for political and civil rights purposes. Neither do Jews. Neither do Native Americans. If you're not strictly heterosexual and rigidly adhering to the gender stereotype our culture imposes on your assigned male/female role then you are queer goddamn it.

Fuck gay or lesbian or transgendered rights. It's about human rights first and foremost. For political purposes, if we all band together we've got a much better chance of getting some shit accomplished than if we sit around wasting time bickering amongst ourselves or complaining about our own personal injustices we each endure. Let's secure the rights of all our people and then we'll work out the individual details.

All this leads me to another point regarding the label "bisexual" and how I've never met anyone that I felt was truly one-hundred percent "bisexual" by definition of the term...but I'll save that rant for another post.

PS: Yeah. I know I have the labels glbt, gay, lesbian, etc. in my blog header but that's because I assumed they would work as key words for people searching for particular blog subject matter. Also, I don't necessarily dislike these labels. I just think that's it's beneficial for everyone to join under the single title of queer. Strength in numbers people.

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